Living in poverty before age 5 can have a critical impact on children’s earnings trajectories 30 years later, according to a study in the January/February issue of Child Development.
Greg J. Duncan, an education professor at the University of California, Irvine, and his colleagues analyzed data on a nationally representative sample of people born between 1968 and 1975.
More so than other periods of childhood, the researchers found, poverty in early-childhood was strongly linked to having lower earnings and fewer work hours 30 years later. The researchers estimate that a $3,000 annual increase in family income between a child’s prenatal year and 5th birthday is associated with a 19 percent increase in earnings and an additional 135 work hours a year for that child down the road.
A version of this article appeared in the March 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Family Income